Maine again backs ranked-choice voting

Kyle Bailey, campaign manager for the Yes on One campaign for ranked choice voting, said he was feeling optimistic just after the polls closed on Tuesday night in Portland.

Maine voters again endorsed ranked-choice voting, passing a ballot question that keeps alive the first-in-the-nation election system.

The Bangor Daily News and Decision Desk HQ called the race just after midnight Tuesday. With a majority of key precincts reporting, the “yes” vote held a solid lead with 55 percent of the total vote.

Ranked-choice voting has been on a roller coaster ever since being enacted by referendum in November 2016. Opposition was fueled in May 2017 when an advisory opinion from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court said the system was partially unconstitutional because of language in the Maine Constitution that calls for general elections in Maine to be decided by pluralities.

Opposition began to mount in the Legislature, where the issue turned partisan, with Democrats generally supportive of the voting method and Republicans opposed. Neither side was able to achieve a supermajority for either starting the process of amending the constitution or scrapping the concept altogether, resulting in the October 2017 passage of a bill that called for either a constitutional amendment by December 2021 or for ranked-choice voting to cease for good.

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